March 2010


Ladies Home > Stacy's Cooking Journal

Bibimbap Take 2

The obsession continues… Bibimbap has the potential to become a staple, I think. It is based on rice, one of the two starches necessary for me to feel full. Then, it has a ton of veggies and some protein, making it an excellent veggie meal. And because it's red, I "visually experience" eating tomato sauce (lol).

Using the new technique I picked up watching Maangchi julienne carrots by slicing thinly on the vertical and then hacking away at it, I washed, peeled, and shredded 4 carrots in under 10 minutes. Yay! I cooked 2 packages of soybean sprouts for 10 minutes and seasoned with salt, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced green onion. I briefly sauteed a package of spinach until wilted, then mixed with 1/2 Tbs of the bibim sauce, sesame oil, salt, and green onion. Meanwhile I had been soaking 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, but they needed a bit of a push so I boiled them for 10 or 15 minutes. Once ready, I sliced thinly. I cooked 2 eggs in sesame oil, then used the same wok to stir-fry the carrots in sesame oil and salt, then after those the shiitake mushrooms with salt and sesame oil. The ingredients were mixed with the rice and combined with the bibim sauce, which this time in the making I increased the amount of gochujang and added sugar. All is well and I have plenty of leftovers. Hurrah.

Bibimbap

My experience with bibimbap is very minimal. I may have had it out in a restaurant once or twice, but even then, I had not the knowledge to discern whether or not it was "good." I've been given to understand that there are two genres of bibimbap: real bibimbap and a "rice salad." Clearly, in this case, the "rice salad" is the genre worthy of derision and mockery. The distinction between them is that while real bibimbap is the culmination of a series of individually prepared side dishes (banchan) and vegetables that are then folded into rice by the eater and flavored with a special sauce, the "rice salad" approaches bibimbap as a singular dish that has in it various (often raw) vegetables like carrots, sprouts, etc.

Whether or not the instances of bibimbap I have eaten fall into the "real" or "salad" category, I cannot say.

But a few days ago I made a version from the The Korean Table cookbook. This cookbook did indeed call for the individual preparation of veggies. It suggested that you might pick and choose which of the veggies to include for any particular iteration of the recipe. So I chose a few I was more familiar with.

Accordingly, I made the (soy) sprouts banchan (my version posted elsewhere here), flavored spinach, and the matchstick carrots, sauteed briefly in sesame oil and salted. I then fried an egg in sesame oil (usually left runny, but my run-ins with salmonella have made me overly cautious). In a large bowl of rice, I arranged the veggies in small clumps around the sides and plopped the egg in the middle. I then added the bibim sauce I had made earlier from red pepper paste, vinegar, apple juice, honey/sugar, and sesame oil.

It was pretty addictive. The next night I only had sprouts left, but I was desperate enough that I had a sad little meal of the rice with just the sprouts, an egg, and the sauce.

Will make again! Definitely a very very satisfying comfort food.

Veggie Lasagna

Making the Amanda/Barilla standard. Laying out the method here for my own reference.

Sauce

  1. Saute 3 cloves garlic.
  2. Add 2 large can crushed tomatoes.
  3. Add salt, sugar, pepper, and fresh herbs to taste.
  4. Simmer while prepping other ingredients.

Veggies

  1. Saute one diced onion until translucent and slightly browned, adding sugar and salt while cooking.
  2. Add sliced baby portabello mushrooms and cook until they lose all water.
  3. Set the mushroom and onion mix aside in a bowl.
  4. Microwave 1 pack of frozen, chopped spinach until defrosted.
  5. Add to the same pan and cook off water.

Cheese Mix
Just following the instructions on the pasta box :) Combine in a large bowl (not a medium bowl!):

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 15oz container ricotta
  • 1 (2 cup) package of pre-grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated or powdered Parmesan
  • (optional) I have sometimes mixed the spinach in the with cheese instead of layering it separately.

Layer

  1. Lightly spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of the dish.
  3. Layer in slightly overlapping sheets on uncooked dry lasagna pasta
  4. Add a layer of cheese mix.
  5. Add a layer of spinach.
  6. Add a layer of onion/mushrooms.
  7. Add a bit of sauce.
  8. Repeat. Use the next lasagna sheets to squish down the previous layers.
  9. When finished adding the last layer of lasagna sheets, fill in all empty space with sauce and add a layer of mixed Italian shredded cheese (usually about 2 cups).
  10. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or so. Use tin foil if the cheese starts getting too browned (not always necessary).

Variations

  • I'm not sure it much matters if you put the sauce on top of the lasagna or on top of the veggies layers.
  • Mix the spinach in with the cheese blend.
  • Be lazy and leave out the onion and mushrooms.

Whatever you do: never ever add other veggies to lasagna. Hold back on broccoli, corn, carrots, peas, etc. That's just wrong! Say no to over-vegetabling a great cheese-based dish!

Kimchi Jigae (Stew) and Carrot Banchan

Served with simple green-onion omelette for lunch.

I will lament about the perils of julienning carrots elsewhere, but suffice to say that in the future I either need some kind of Dedicated Instrument or to just buy the pack of pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store (although I fear these be too skinny, probably intended for salads). The carrot banchan was, in my opinion, decidedly "eh." As in, I don't mind eating it, but given the labor of julienning carrots, probably not worth it unless I was making bibimbap. After julienning, I salted the carrots and stir-fried them for 2 minutes in sesame oil. Seems easy!

On the other hand, the kimchi jigae was a miracle stew and took almost no labor. I amped up the flavor here for my previous version (posted elsewhere in Recipes). Here are the ingredients:

  • 1/3 container of kimchi. This was all that was left in the fridge.
  • 1 pack of standard firm tofu, cut into small 1/2 inch cubes.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced, seeds intact (all that was in the fridge)
  • 1 T Korean coarse red pepper powder
  • 1 T Korean red pepper paste
  • 1 T dark sesame oil
  • 2.5 T sugar (you read right!)
  • 2 large scallions, sliced
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a medium-sized cooking pot, in an ample amount of canola oil, I sauteed the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper until the onion was translucent.
  2. I added the tofu and sugar, then sauteed about 5 minutes longer.
  3. I added the kimchi, red pepper powder, red pepper paste (despite what anyone says, this will dissolve well before 30 minutes!), salt, and just enough water to cover the mixture (add more water as necessary through the cooking process, but the end result should be a thick stew).
  4. I brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes.
  5. I added more salt to taste, and then added the scallions and sesame oil, then let simmer 15 minutes more while I was doing other things.

That's it! It was probably the best kimchi jigae I had made thus far. Please remember that conventionally this is made with beef stock, sometimes with meat. So this vegetarian version is going to have to carve out its own lonely path.


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